Squeezed light a small step forward toward detecting gravitational waves

They stand as the last great prediction of general relativity: gravitational waves. They haven’t been detected yet, but it seems almost unthinkable for them not to exist. Detecting them though… that is what might be described as a tough problem.

These deformations of space are incredibly tiny. So tiny that making instruments to detect them has produced some of the most challenging engineering problems ever seen. Now, the engineers and physicists can celebrate some progress. Squeezed light has left the lab and is being used to improve a gravitational wave observatory.

Gravity is by far the weakest of the fundamental forces, so building detectors for gravity waves, let alone gravitons, pushes the limits of 21st century technology. The quantum effects are Yet Another Problem, since the quantum fluctuations of space itself add noise to the measurements.

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